Utilizing Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) and Atlantic Canyons Mapping Data of the U.S. Atlantic Margin for Standardized Marine Ecological Classification

Derek Sowers

Ph.D. in Oceanography
Proposal Defense

Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015, 11:00am
Chase 130

Over the past eleven years, the U.S. Atlantic Margin from the continental shelf break to the abyssal ocean, and from Canada to Florida, has been mapped using multibeam sonars. Much of this work was done in support of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) Project and for baseline exploration of the Atlantic canyons. The proposed research will utilize multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data, along with other existing ancillary datasets, to generate marine ecological classification maps through the application of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard. The project is intended to demonstrate methods to maximize the value of ECS datasets being collected by many nations, and to provide value-added spatial datasets useful in supporting ecosystem-based management approaches within the study region. 


Derek Sowers works as a Physical Scientist with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) supporting ocean mapping efforts of the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer. This work involves overseeing sonar data collection at sea during ocean exploration expeditions, and managing data and collaborating with other scientists shore-side at UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping Joint Hydrographic Center. Derek is also a part-time Oceanography Ph.D. student at CCOM/JHC with interests in seafloor characterization, ocean habitat mapping, and marine conservation.He has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of New Hampshire (1995), and holds an M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University (2000) where he completed a NOAA-funded assessment of the “Benefits of Geographic Information Systems for State and Regional Ocean Management.” Derek has thirteen years of previous coastal research and management experience working for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve network and EPA’s National Estuary Program in both Oregon and New Hampshire. Derek has participated in ocean research expeditions in the Arctic Ocean, Gulf of Maine, and Pacific Northwest continental shelf.